Ryan Gardner shapes an amethyst on a diamond grinding wheel at his studio in Pueblo, Colorado.
Ryan Gardner stood in front of rapidly whirling grinding wheels in his studio in Pueblo, Colorado. With two hands he held a long nail on which he had super glued a small amethyst. He moved the nail constantly as he touched the amethyst to the coarse surface of one of the wheels. Frequently he took time to hold the nail up where he could examine the shape of the amethyst, which was slowly changing to match the vision in his mind’s eye.
A narrow stream of water was pouring onto the wheel from a small spout above it and spraying off of it and onto Ryan’s apron. Without water to cool the wheel, heat from friction could have cracked the stone, and powdered amethyst would have been flying everywhere. Continue reading
Carrie Lambert of Loveland, Colorado, created this necklace by crocheting and weaving wire strung with beads.
When Carrie Lambert started crocheting with wire and beads in 2006, she had no plans for going into business. She started on a whim, teaching herself from a book that caught her eye in a craft store.
Two months later she and her husband were eating breakfast at a B&B in Utah when the hostess told her she loved Carrie’s necklace and asked if she could possibly buy it from her. Carrie agreed to sell it to her. On discovering that Carrie had made it, the hostess asked her if she would provide a dozen more for the B&B to sell in its small gift shop. Two weeks after the hostess received the necklaces, she called Carrie and ordered a dozen more because the others had all sold.
Nine years later, Carrie’s jewelry matches the trendiest styles of 2015 and sells in stores in Fort Collins and Loveland. Continue reading
Goldworks, owned by jewelry designer Tom Linenberger and his wife Sandy, sits along the north side of Old Town Square in Fort Collins. (Photo provided by Goldworks)
Along the north side of Old Town Square in Fort Collins sits Goldworks, owned by Tom and Sandy Linenberger and filled with fine jewelry designed and created by Tom and fellow artisan Mark Videan.
Tom and Mark met in 1994 at a trade show in Denver. They had come from different Midwestern states to check out the CAD (computer-assisted-design) programs available for jewelry designers. Their enthusiasm for the same design program sparked a long-lasting friendship. Tom opened Goldworks in Fort Collins four years ago. A year later, he convinced Mark to join him.
Mixing Technology and Tradition
This ring design shown in white gold was created by Tom Linenberger at Goldworks in Fort Collins. (Photo provided by Goldworks)
Both Tom and Mark are still enthusiastic about using a CAD program to make sure they produce what their customers expect. Before CAD, they couldn’t always be certain that a customer completely understood their drawn design. With a CAD program, however, they can turn their design in every direction to show the customer every aspect of it.
Once the customer agrees to a design – a particular ring, for example — the CAD program guides the milling machine that creates a wax version of the ring. Before they used CAD, Tom and Mark sculpted the ring out of wax by hand. Now the computer gives them a perfect wax form and frees their time for other creative work. Continue reading
Edú Muñoz uses a variety of metals in his jewelry for Wari Designs.
Wandering through the booths at The French Nest Market in Fort Collins last July, I discovered the handmade Peruvian jewelry of Edú Muñoz. Dozens of earrings hung on felt boards. Necklaces and bracelets filled tables all around the booth.
Edú was no stranger to open air markets. He had put himself through veterinary school in Peru by selling his jewelry in parks and beside streets. Nonetheless, he hung back the day I met him, letting his wife Lindsay Saperstone, a CSU graduate born and raised in Fort Collins, greet customers and answer their questions.
The jewelry that they were selling under the name Wari Designs was astoundingly intricate and very reasonably priced. Lindsay explained that Edú uses an alloy made of copper and zinc and a small amount of nickel to make affordable jewelry with a silver tone.
Seven months later, I learned more about Wari Designs when I visited Lindsay and Edú at their home in Denver. Continue reading
Allison Freeman and Dana Biebel draw on the Victorian industrial era for inspiration in creating steampunk jewelry for BeeBull Designs. (Photo by A. Freeman)
Journey back in time to the 19th century, when steam powered the great inventions that triggered the Industrial Revolution – but take today’s knowledge of science with you. Let your imagination carry you thousands of leagues under the sea and around the world by every means of transportation possible, like Jules Verne did.
Now you have caught the vision of the steampunk genre.
As for the “punk” part of steampunk, the delightfully imaginative website of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences explains it like this: “The ‘punk’ in ‘steampunk’ comes from going against convention that, through creativity and declaration of one’s individuality …, sets one apart.”
I didn’t have to understand the steampunk genre, however, to be drawn to the jewelry of BeeBull Designs when I ran across it at Show of Hands late last year. Allison Freeman and her sister Dana Biebel felt the same way when they discovered steampunk jewelry while browsing for fun in shops in Telluride and Ouray in 2013. They were so intrigued, they started studying the genre and decided to make steampunk jewelry themselves as a creative outlet. Enhancing the name of their family of origin, they launched BeeBull Designs in October of 2013. Continue reading